EU's first president could earn 270,000 euros a year
15/04/2008 16:30

BRUSSELS, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - The EU's first president could earn 270,000 euros ($427,000) and potential perks include a housing allowance, car and some 22 staff, Belgian media reported on Tuesday.

EU ambassadors to Brussels have already started discussing the terms and conditions of the new post, as well as the job description and the proposed role the head of the 27-member organization will have. Suggestions have been made that the post could be purely administrative or the president could act as the organization's fully-fledged envoy.

The introduction of the EU president post is part of the Lisbon Treaty, signed late last year, which states the EU president should be elected by European leaders for a term of two and a half years and will represent Europe on the international arena.

The Lisbon Treaty is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2009 after ratification by parliaments in all EU member-countries, except Ireland, which is preparing to hold a referendum.

Valerie Giscard D'Estaing, a former French president and architect of the EU Constitution, warned member countries against "making mistakes" in choosing the first president of the EU, which he said would need its own 'George Washington.'

The media said potential candidates for the position include former British premier Tony Blair, incumbent Danish Premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Irish PM Bertie Ahern, former Polish leader Aleksander Kwasniewski and a number of other statesmen.

Blair kicked off his campaign to become the first president in mid-January. He said in a speech, "Europe is not a question of left or right, but a question of the future or the past, of strength or weakness."

Original article: RIA Novosti
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